Create your crowd

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Here’s something you’ve probably heard umpteen times before: To market your services, you need to get in front of your target audience as often as you can. You need to give talks. You need to write articles for the trades. You need to network.

All that is very true.

But what if there are few opportunities available to reach your prospects in those ways?

What if there isn’t a group or association you can speak at? Or a targeted publication you can contribute an article to? What then?

I faced that situation a few years ago when I was promoting my services to a new and somewhat unfamiliar niche market. I couldn’t find a convenient way to get in front of those people.

So I created a way.

First, I outlined a series of 20-minute “Virtual Lunch ‘n Learn” sessions that I would conduct via a teleconference line. Then I invited prospects to attend. (For free, of course.)

The idea behind this strategy was obvious. The Virtual Lunch ‘n Learns would get me in front of my target audience and position me as an expert at what I do. Of those who attended, some would decide to give my services a try.

That was the hope, anyway.

I admit, my first Lunch ‘n Learn wasn’t much of a success. Only two prospects attended. And one hung up partway through!

However, I had seven prospects on the line the next month.

And, a couple of months after that, twenty-three people attended my Virtual Lunch ‘n Learn.

Yes, these were small numbers of prospects but they were high quality. I got several leads and referrals and some very good clients by doing these sessions.

What’s the lesson here?

Don’t get me wrong. I did it the hard way. It’s much, much easier to take advantage of the opportunities that already exist to reach your target audience. So by all means look for those popular blogs, publications, associations, conferences, and LinkedIn groups. Leverage those to get in front of your target audience.

But if none exist, consider creating your own crowd. There are many ways to do that.

Recently, I worked with a client who was struggling to get the word out about his services. Most of his prospects belonged to a professional association with chapters throughout North America. But traveling and speaking at chapter meetings wasn’t an option for him.

What did he do?

He created a webinar. Then he contacted all the chapter presidents and offered to do the webinar for their members. Some said no. Most said, “Maybe some other time.” But three said yes.

Within the next few weeks he got in front of more than a hundred targeted prospects.

If you do some brainstorming, you can probably come up with several non-traditional ideas for getting in front of your prospects.

Sure, creating your own crowd may take some work. Like I said, you’re doing it the hard way. But if no other opportunity exists, it may be worth the effort.

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